A new bookstore opens up at The Station
If you’ve ventured on over to The Station in Newcastle’s CBD, you may just have noticed the newest tenant to set-up shop. Join me in welcoming to the neighbourhood, Betty Loves Books!
Brought to you by two good friends and self-proclaimed bibliophiles, Emily & Katie, the new bookstore officially opened for business on the 30th of June 2022 and is a welcome addition to the local book community.
With backgrounds in Nursing (Katie), and Occupational Therapy (Emily), the duo met in their professional careers back in 2015 where their friendship blossomed over many a shared book and the combined love of Katie’s doggo, Betty!
“Emily was housesitting for me whilst I was travelling around last year and was looking after my dog, Betty. I came back and said to Emily, I want to open a bookshop! She said, oh amazing, I’ll work for you! I said no, I don’t want you to work for me, let’s open one together,” Katie said.
The first conversation was not at all that long ago, in fact, the pair’s first official ‘business meeting’ only taking place in November of last year with the brand, Betty Loves Books, officially launching in December!
“We started doing markets, to begin with. We started with Homegrown Markets and from that, we started getting invited to other markets. We did the Cowper St Markets, and Earp Distilling Co.’s markets, and we tried out Lambton as well. From there, we were able to save up enough capital to really start thinking about a store.”
The plan was to always open up their own bookstore, but with the online world growing, the dream seemed a little too far out of reach. So, Betty Loves Books started their own pop-up stalls of secondhand books at a selection of local markets, before stumbling upon the incredible feasible opportunity to open up their own space at The Station.
The space has come together alongside the help of local architect, Peter of Paper Courtyard. Designing the entire fit-out, and helping along with the build, the colour palette and layout of the space is equal parts funky, friendly, and downright fabulous.
With a dedicated wall for all their new reads, designed to really showcase the store's newest arrivals by drawing you in with their featured light wall and colourful accents.
Whilst the store has a strong focus on new books, the girls are still stocking a curated selection of pre-loved gems in-store whilst also continuing to pop up at markets with their secondhand and blind date offerings.
“We started really building up our preloved book collection to sell at the markets. We have SO many now! We’ve always had a list of new ones that we wanted to sell eventually once we had the shop,” Emily said.
“The idea was to always have a new book shop. But we both really like second-hand books too. Our idea was not to have 1000 second-hand books but to curate our selection of second-hand books. We don’t have really old books; it’s not our thing and it’s already being done really well throughout Newcastle. So, we decided to focus on new books and to choose them based on our own likes and what we know our market likes,” Katie said.
In addition to the mix of new and secondhand books available, the girls are also creating their very own tea blends; Betty Loves Tea! Unsurprisingly, you can tell that the tea may have come around from the girls’ mutual love for tea, but surprisingly, you might be interested to know that the girls make all of their own blends from scratch right here in-store!
“One day, we sat down and I suggested that we actually make some tea ourselves to go with our books. They naturally go together, and we both really love tea. We have shaped our tea offering to our market now. It’s mostly herbal tea but we do also have an Earl Grey and a Black Tea. We source all of the ingredients ourselves, most of which are Australian grown and as organically as we can get it.”
In hopes to utilise their brick-and-mortar store, the girls are big on supporting other local creatives and small businesses that align with the Betty Loves Books ethos. With artworks donning the walls with pieces by Amy Charlton, and Squidless Studios available, as well as a selection of locally designed cards and gift wrap, resin bookmarks, earrings by Holmeswares, and of course the girls’ own tea blends.
“There is definitely an opportunity for the products to be a bit fluid with what we offer. Certainly, supporting local artisans and creatives, that’s what we want to do. If we can have them on our table, we absolutely will.”
If you’re a bibliophile yourself or enjoy a good browsing of bookstores, or are just in need of a little excursion, either drop by The Station to visit their newest tenant, Betty Loves Books Bookshop, or keep an eye on their socials for any upcoming pop-up market stalls.